Mayor Isgro and Colby Students Discuss Security and the Downtown Dorm

By Heather Jahrling

Courtesy of Colby College

As one enters Miller Library, there are phones, wallets, and computers left unattended at the majority of tables. Even in the dining halls, students will leave their cell phones in the tables to “save their place” with no fear of their belongings being stolen. While the campus continues to maintain a safe reputation, the downtown dorm is new territory regarding safety. To explore this issue, the Echo sat down with residents of the downtown dorms and Mayor Nick Isgro to ask about their experiences with security and safety.

During the first week of school, the residents of the downtown dorm had a meeting in which the Waterville Police Department was present. As Riley Janeway ’20 expressed, “Our meeting was very candid, and they told us to be smart because if we aren’t, it just reflects poorly on ourselves.” Maddie Taylor ’19 felt that this meeting was beneficial in forging a stronger connection with the local police. One of the major points emphasized at the meeting dealt with parking, and ensuring that students do not park in the concourse. However, despite the warning, Isgro told the Echo, “There has been an uptick in complaints from the public since school has been in session.” While the community was informed that students would only park on Appleton Street or campus, that has not been the case.

As a result, Isgro stated that the police have been monitoring Main Street and the concourse and leaving tickets for the parking violators. While the parking situation so far has been inconsistent regarding violations, the police are now using data and maps to “build a better overall parking strategy that works for all,” states Isgro. Isgro has been working closely with Police Chief Joseph Massey and other officers downtown to improve the situation and states that the “Waterville Police Department is well equipped in both skills and demeanor to ensure the long-term success of the project in as much as their capacity allows.”

Regarding safety concerns, Taylor commented “I feel very safe living downtown. My only concern is the potential prospect of things being stolen out of cars.” On this point, Isgro advises the students to keep their cars locked and to report any suspicious activity. Janeway stated, “I have felt just as safe downtown as I did on campus.” This is in part a result of the 24-hour security and increased security on the weekends. Janeway’s biggest safety concern deals with transportation on the weekends late at night now that more students are behind the wheel. She told the Echo, “I think that Colby kids pose a bigger threat to ourselves than the Waterville community does to us.”

While parking complaints have increased, Isgro remarked, “Having a large, well lit, occupied building like that should theoretically make the area safer than it was before.” When asked what advice he would give to students regarding safety, Isgro advised the students of the downtown dorm to be aware of their surroundings, report suspicious activity, and to enjoy immersing themselves in the downtown community. With both students and Waterville residents following these procedures, Waterville is sure to continue to be a community where we can all co-exist.